ALBUM OF THE DAY: BRUCE DICKINSON’S TYRANNY OF SOULS
Iron Maiden are touring the US this summer, and even though I saw them last year, I’m still pretty psyched. But rather than take a look at any Maiden albums, all of which have been written about (at great length) by hundreds (if not thousands) of people, I thought I give a little attention to something a little different. And so, let’s take a look at Brucie’s Tyranny of Souls.
Although I have a soft spot for Tattooed Millionaire and its eponymous song that blatantly mocks Motley Crue, Tyranny of Souls is my favorite Dickinson solo outing. It’s like Iron Maiden, but with the epic melodrama reined it. And I don’t usually mind the epic melodrama, but sometimes you want songs that are less than eleven minutes long.
The album starts off with “Navigate the Seas of the Sun,” which is a pretty low-key number. I like it because my inner (but floating damn near the surface) nerd thinks it sounds like Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer singing. (Hey, he did a pretty mean cover of “Behind Blue Eyes” in that one episode.) I like the mix of acoustic guitar and soaring vocals with the almost dainty Spanish guitar break in-between. It’s a good contrast with “Abduction” and it’s almost thrash-like intro. I absolutely adore the chorus; it reminds me of “Rainmaker” off of Dance of Death. It’s an often-overlooked song because it’s on a weaker album, but it’s one of my favorites.
“Soul Intruders” has that same harsh, thrash-influenced intro that kind of took me aback when I first heard this album. I’m so used to the galloping guitars… but that’s why I enjoy this record so much. There’s a good balance between familiar and different throughout the whole thing.
There are a lot of subtle little electronic hooks going on in this album, none are more apparent than in “River of No Return.” Which is funny, because it’s the song I’d most compare to Maiden. The title track, however, is one of the weaker songs. It’s too slow and takes too long to build up to anything and when it does, it’s not that memorable. It’s too — and I hope people forgive me for saying this — Queensryche-y.
“Devil on a Hog” sounds like it should’ve been on Tattooed Millionaire, just because it has more of a rock’n’roll edge to it. But I love it. It’s got this… I can’t even describe it, just the lilt of Dickinson’s voice as he sings the chorus and the way the last note is held, ah, it’s great. Lovely last song before we fade out with the outro that of “Mars Within.”